Dylan Veillette, Matt Knachel lift No. 5 Ridgefield boys basketball past Danbury

RIDGEFIELD — When the Ridgefield and Danbury boys’ basketball rivalry comes around every season, records and rankings go by the wayside.

The two teams have had drastically different seasons, with Ridgefield ranked as the No. 5 team in the state having just one loss while Danbury has hovered around the .500 mark. on Friday night, however, the difference was negligible.

Ridgefield emerged victorious over the Hatters, pulling away in the final minutes 62-55 to improve to 10-1.

Sophomore standout Dylan Veillette paved the way for the Tigers, leading all scorers with 23 points. Senior Matt Knachel had a big game as well with 16 points.

“Dylan has been great, and he is getting better all the time,” Ridgefield coach Andrew McClellan said. “He is a really gifted offensive player and is getting better with defensive stuff. He is already one of the best if not the best player in the league.”

The score was close throughout in large part because of the performance by Danbury sophomore guard Cameron Perkins, who scored 20 in the loss.

Danbury didn’t waiver in the first half, trailing by one point at the end of the first quarter and 33-26 at halftime.

Cam Perkins and his cousins Charnezand Cushaneach had six points in the first quarter. The three combined for all 26 of Danbury’s first half points.

“They are basketball kids, they are tough,” Danbury coach Casey Bock said. “They are gamers and they’ve been working hard. They keep improving and they are fun to coach, they have been playing very well.”

Ridgefield began to pull away at the beginning of the third quarter with a 9-1 run to take a 42-27 lead, its largest of the game.

However, Danbury responded with an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to four. At the end of the third quarter Ridgefield held a 45-40 lead.

“I think we played well. We had a couple of runs, but they were able to come back,” Veillette said. “I think one of the things we need to do better is keeping those runs going and not letting teams back into the game.”

Ridgefield outscored Danbury 17-15 in the final quarter to squash the comeback attempt with composure and consistency.

“That was an FCIAC rivalry game right there,” McClellan said. “Danbury definitely came ready to play. We know their kids and they know our kids. They played really well, and we did enough to get an important conference win.”

Ridgefield has won two straight games after suffering its first loss of the year to Wilton last Saturday, a 65-62 loss in the final moments of the game.

“You have to move on quickly. Wilton was a fun game and an important game with a little bit of a heartbreaking ending,” McClellan said. “It was an opportunity missed, but we approach each game one at a time. We have had a lot of success approaching the season that way.”

Danbury’s record falls to 5-6, the first time the Hatters have dipped under .500 this season.

The loss to Ridgefield was the second close game against top FCIAC competition this week, having lost to Fairfield Warde 62-58.

“We are very close, we just have to make sure we stay together and keep getting better to get over the hump,” Bock said. “We kind of gave the game away on Monday against Warde, and we were right here with Ridgefield, so we are close to being a good team. We are not a good team yet; we just need to keep working.”

Will.Aldam@hearstmediact.com; @AldamWill


DANBURY 18 8 14 15 — 55

RIDGEFIELD 19 14 12 17 — 62


Jayden Leroy 1 0 1-2 3, Cushan Perkins 0 2 1-3 7, Christian Jeffers 3 0 0-0 6, Charnez Perkins 2 0 3-5 7, Cameron Perkins 7 1 3-3 20, Georen Chirayil 0 1 0-0 3, Jake Fiorita 0 2 1-3 7, Quintin Chapman 1 0 0-0 2.


Justin DiFabio 0 1 0-1 3, Alister Walsh 0 0 2-2 2, Evan Koerner 4 0 2-5 6, Sean Sosa 3 0 1-7 7, Dylan Veillette 7 1 6-8 23, Ben Klotz 2 0 1-3 5, Matt Knachel 7 0 0-3 16.